• Craiya
    15
    We all have preferences we can't change and that influence our judgements.

    Imagine you see a naturally attractive person. They look attractive to you and to many others, but that doesn't make that person attractive, does it? It only means that majority of people agrees with your opinion on his appearance. Or more like you all have similiar preferences.

    Now, you walk up to this person and give them a compliment. They thank you. But for what exactly? Are they thanking you for having a preference? You only say how you view their looks. Why should they be thanking you for that? Whatmore, it's their looks we're talking about. It's the way they were born. They didn't work hard to look this way.

    Edit: Alright. I didn't specify my first sentence ("We all have preferences we can't change and that influence our judgements.") - no, we really don't have any influence over our preferences. It's true that they keep changing, but we don't get to choose when or how they change.
    And as for my last sentence ("They didn't work hard to look this way.") - what I meant was, for instance, having significant features, not a muscular body that is hard to achieve.
    An example would be: "You have beautiful eyes."
  • neonspectraltoast
    205
    It's still a compliment pertaining to themselves. A person isn't just a thought.
  • Pinprick
    456
    We all have preferences we can't changeCraiya

    Are you sure? I know that some of my preferences have changed since childhood.

    It only means that majority of people agrees with your opinion on his appearance.Craiya

    This is what attractiveness is; the majority of people agreeing on certain physical characteristics being more desirable than others.

    Now, you walk up to this person and give them a compliment. They thank you. But for what exactly? Are they thanking you for having a preference? You only say how you view their looks. Why should they be thanking you for that?Craiya

    They’re thankful that you complemented their beauty. Being beautiful is a positive characteristic to have, therefore being complemented for having it a positive thing. Hence the thankfulness. You essentially gave them a boost to their ego/self-esteem. Furthermore, you went out of your way to do so since it wasn’t required or expected.

    They didn't work hard to look this way.Craiya

    You don’t know this. Vanity seems to be pretty popular, as is evidenced by the lengths that people are willing to go in order to improve their looks, not to mention the amount of money they’re willing to spend.
  • Benkei
    3.8k
    You're both fulfilling social roles. You give a compliment, the receiver thanks you. Social theatre concludes. Everybody feels better.
  • TheMadFool
    7.9k
    We all have preferences we can't change and that influence our judgements.

    Imagine you see a naturally attractive person. They look attractive to you and to many others, but that doesn't make that person attractive, does it? It only means that majority of people agrees with your opinion on his appearance. Or more like you all have similiar preferences.

    Now, you walk up to this person and give them a compliment. They thank you. But for what exactly? Are they thanking you for having a preference? You only say how you view their looks. Why should they be thanking you for that? Whatmore, it's their looks we're talking about. It's the way they were born. They didn't work hard to look this way.
    Craiya

    My two cents:

    To look good is not an easy task. I've seen men and women spending a considerable amount of time and money to make themselves more attractive. In other words, good looks has a value in society. If so, a naturally good looking person has what many of us have to put in extra effort to possess.

    The aesthetic value of a good looking person comes not from him/herself but from the amount of work others put in to look like him/her.

    It's ok then to compliment someone who's beautiful or handsome for it means you value the time and resources you yourself and others spend to look like him/her. The good looking person's "thank you" is then just an acknowledgement of your values.

    It seems then that when you compliment a person for his/her good looks, all you're doing is affirming your own values and when they thank you, they're doing nothing more than giving the nod of approval to your values, not theirs. :joke:
  • fdrake
    4.3k
    Compliments aren't supposed to be just objective appraisals. They're not like... surveys, I mean "You look beautiful" is not "I have done a survey of 100 people regarding your looks, adjusted for prompting bias somehow, and you have an attractiveness score in the 95th percentile based on previous studies". It's much closer to "I declare you are beautiful", a performance of appreciation.
  • unenlightened
    5.3k
    Likewise, thanks are not a currency subject to devaluation by excess issuing. One can happily pass one's expressions of gratitude to all and sundry with no lasting harm done.

    So thank you for raising this important and interesting debate, and for articulating it beautifully.
  • Coben
    1.7k
    They took the time to say that they felt a certain positive thing. It's a gesture. The gesture back is to thank them. And it doesn't have to be taken as objective either. THEY like the way you look. Just because you like what you see or like them, doesn’t mean that all do. And you revealed this. In relationships if one person compliments and the other does not there’s a problem. One of the likely ones is that the person who doesn’t, doesn’t notice/support the other as much. The thanking acknowledges attention and interest, awareness of the other person, sometimes care.
  • ZzzoneiroCosm
    985
    Now, you walk up to this person and give them a compliment. They thank you. But for what exactly?Craiya

    The thank you is an expression of gratitude to the complimenter for taking a moment to express an affirmational view of the physicality of the recipient which the recipient can then (fleetingly) attach to her self-perception.

    In short, the recipient of the compliment is thanking the complimenter for taking a moment to make her feel fleetingly pleasant about her physicality.
  • Hanover
    5.9k
    They didn't work hard to look this way.Craiya

    How do you know?
  • christian2017
    1.4k
    We all have preferences we can't change and that influence our judgements.

    Imagine you see a naturally attractive person. They look attractive to you and to many others, but that doesn't make that person attractive, does it? It only means that majority of people agrees with your opinion on his appearance. Or more like you all have similiar preferences.

    Now, you walk up to this person and give them a compliment. They thank you. But for what exactly? Are they thanking you for having a preference? You only say how you view their looks. Why should they be thanking you for that? Whatmore, it's their looks we're talking about. It's the way they were born. They didn't work hard to look this way.
    Craiya

    I very much agree with what you are getting at. Some people have to watch what they eat to stay thin so you could say the are putting some effort into staying thin.

    But more or less the OP you provided is worth considering.
  • Sir2u
    2.4k
    Imagine you see a naturally attractive person. They look attractive to you and to many others, but that doesn't make that person attractive, does it? It only means that majority of people agrees with your opinion on his appearance. Or more like you all have similiar preferences.Craiya

    Saying that a person is naturally attractive and then saying because society says so, seems in some way contradictory. If attractiveness is natural, how can society define it?

    Or do you mean that someone coincidentally fulfills the expectations that society has set for attractiveness?
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